March 2014 Issue - page 8

Page 8
March 2014
PENNSYLVANIA EQUESTRIAN
Penn Vet will broadcast live
the birth of a special foal via a
Foal Cam inside the Neonatal
Intensive Care Unit at Penn Vet’s
New Bolton Center.
The live broadcast will be
available around the clock on the
Penn Vet website at
upenn.edu/foalcam beginning on
February 26, when the mare, My
Special Girl, enters the stall at
the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
My Special Girl is due to foal in
mid-March.
Once the foal is born, Penn
Vet will hold a naming contest.
The foal will be the first
successful pregnancy by Penn Vet
using the advanced reproductive
technique intracytoplasmic sperm
injection, known as ICSI, which
involves injecting a single sperm
into a mature egg. This ICSI
embryo was transferred to My
Special Girl in early April.
Through collaboration with
Penn Medicine, Penn Vet is
positioning itself to provide this
service to clients in the future so
that everything – from the oocyte
aspiration, to the sperm injection,
to the embryo culture, and em-
bryo transfer – are all performed
at Penn.
Foal Cam to Show Birth of Foal at New Bolton Center
“Our goal is always to ex-
pand our Assisted Reproduction
Services to improve our ability
to better serve our clients who
have subfertile mares and stal-
lions,” said Regina Turner, VMD,
PhD, Associate Professor of
Large Animal Reproduction and
Director of the Stallion Frozen
Semen Program at New Bolton’s
Hofmann Center for Reproduc-
tion and Behavior.
ICSI also has great potential
for use of frozen sperm from
deceased stallions to carry on a
legacy. In addition, the proce-
dure can be used for mares that
cannot get pregnant or carry their
offspring themselves in the con-
ventional manner, as all the donor
mare needs to do is produce an
egg.
Penn Medicine’s Matthew
VerMilyea, PhD, Director of the
IVF and Andrology Laboratories
at Penn Medicine, is performing
ICSI for the Hofmann Center.
ICSI is a common procedure in
human medicine that revolution-
ized the treatment of male infer-
tility. Dr. VerMilyea is using a
microscope with laser technology,
used for humans but rarely used
in the ICSI procedure in horses.
“It is exciting,” said Dr.
VerMilyea, who is performing
the ICSI procedure on several
equine eggs provided by Hof-
mann this year. “It is great to be
able to apply the tools and skills
that we commonly use in treat-
ing human infertility, and make
slight adjustments that allow
us to cross over into the animal
world.”
My Special Girl, an 11-year-
old Thoroughbred, was donated
to New Bolton Center’s herd of
horses used for teaching vet-
erinary students. The egg for the
foal came from a Thoroughbred-
Cleveland Bay cross mare. The
sperm was from frozen semen
from a long-deceased Thorough-
bred-Quarter Horse cross stallion
that was part of the Hofmann
Center’s teaching program.
The foal will remain in the
New Bolton Center family, as it
will be adopted by Rose Nolen-
Walston, DVM, New Bolton
Center Assistant Professor of
Medicine, who lives on a nearby
farm. Lisa Fergusson of Cochran-
ville, once on Canada’s Olympic
Eventing team, will be the foal’s
trainer when it is ready to begin
its athletic career.
The Devon Horse Show
and Country Fair has announced
schedule changes for the 2014
show, which will be held May
22 – June 1 at the Devon Horse
Show Grounds in Devon, PA.
The location of the Plea-
sure Carriage Drive on Sunday,
May 25 will change. Last year,
after days of rain left the fields
at the original starting point, St.
David’s Church, totally unusable,
the Pleasure Drive was judged
at the grounds. The coaches and
carriages then followed a 4.5 mile
circuitous route leading back to
the grounds for the award pre-
sentations. This change of venue
was very successful for both the
exhibitors and spectators, so much
so that the Pleasure Carriage Drive
will begin at Devon again in 2014.
The professional Hunter
divisions have been streamlined.
They will still occur over three
days, Monday, May 26 - Wednes-
day, May 28, but the classes
have been consolidated so that
all of the 1st Year, 2nd Year and
Green Conformation classes will
occur on Monday and Tuesday
and all of the High Performance
and Regular Conformation
Changes Made to Devon Schedule
classes will occur on Tuesday and
Wednesday.
In one of the most significant
changes for 2014, the Internation-
al Hunter Derby will take place
on Thursday, May 29, beginning
late morning. The horse breeding
classes will take place on the final
Sunday, June 1.
“We hope that moving the
Hunter Derby to be contiguous
with the professional Hunter divi-
sions will entice more riders to stay
and participate,” said Devon co-
manager, David Distler. “The final
Sunday, being devoted to breeding
classes, will offer a peaceful, quiet
environment to get the yearlings
and two-year-olds ready for the
ring. There will also more stalls
and more parking available.”
The Open Jumper Stake,
which has taken place for the past
two years in the afternoon, will be
moved back to the evening ses-
sion on Saturday, May 31. It had
long been one of Devon’s most
exciting evening events, attract-
ing thousands of spectators. The
class will take place at the begin-
ning of the evening session. The
Grand Prix of Devon will remain
in place, Thursday, May 29.
Each issue of
Pennsylvania Equestrian
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Ready for her closeup...My Special Girl, an 11 year old thoroughbred
mare, was impregnated at New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, PA us-
ing a method common in human medicine but new to veterinary medicine.
She will give birth on camera via a Foal Cam on the Penn Vet website.
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